Aerial view of Nsukka from the mountains
|• Total||2,141.08 sq mi (5,545.38 km2)|
|Elevation||1,810 ft (550 m)|
|3-digit postal code prefix|
|ISO 3166 code||NG.EN.NS|
Nsukka is a town and Local Government Area in southeast Nigeria in Enugu State. Towns that share a common border with Nsukka, are Edem, Opi (archaeological site), Ede-Oballa, and Obimo. Other nearby towns including Aku, Enugu-Ezike and Uzo Uwani now are also referred to as Nsukka, because they fall into the political zoning system in Nigeria known as Senatorial Zone. As of 2006, Nsukka had a population of 309,633. Nsukka Town is known as the site of the University of Nigeria, the first indigenous Nigerian university, founded by Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, first President of Nigeria. Currently the town has a number of Federal Parastatals in the university such as NABDA, CBSS, and the Energy Research Centre.
Recognized Traditional Rulers
Nsukka LGA has an area of 1,810 km² and a population of 309,633 at the 2006 census. The Local Government Headquarters is located in the hilly and green sites which Nsukka is known for close to colonial quarters of the pre-Independence years. The present Chairman of the Local Government Area council caretaker committee is Prof Roseline Onah who assumed leadership in early 2016.
Nsukka is a home to members of the Igbo ethnic group. Little is known about the history of Nsukka town except that the Kingdom of Nri had contact with Nsukka in earlier periods. However, in the book 'Igbo/Igala Borderland' the ancient American writer traced the origin of Nsukka town to the earlier traders from Arochukwu in the present Abia State, who initially rested and later settled down there. In July 1967, Nsukka was one of the first Biafran towns to be captured by the Nigerian forces during their so-called 'police action' at the outset of the Nigerian-Biafran War. This action, during which University of Nigeria, Nsukka was burned down, created many refugees and contributed to the chaos and suffering inherent in this bloody conflict.
According to Benjamin Chinweike Ezema (now called Ezemmah) Nsukka is a town that is made up of three prominent communities, namely the Nkpunanor community, the Ihe n'Owerre community and the Nru Nsukka community. Each of these communities are made of villages headed by an Onyishi (village heads are known as Onyishi) and other title holders. Oral history has it that Nsukka has very close ties with three other neighbouring towns: Obukpa, Okpuje and Eha, which are said to have common ancestral origins. Nsukka, Obukpa, and Okpuje are siblings of Asadu Ideke Arumona; while the last – Eha is a patrilineal brother of the other three relations. The town is therefore called Eha-Alumona. Nsukka town has very ancient culture and traditions that are almost lost in antiquity due to the late awakening of the indigenes to the relevance and necessity of the pursuit of intellectual erudition and research. Each community is composed of many other smaller villages and clans.  Prof Roseline Onah is the new chairman of Nsukka local government, who assumed leadership in early January 2016.
Events and festivals
A number of festivals are celebrated by the people of Nsukka, including the Omabe Masquerade Festival;the Onwa Eto, or Onwa Ito (the 3rd moon) Festival, which is characterised by the slaughtering of several fowls in each household for each child in the household and in memory of deceased family members; the Onwa Ise (the 5th moon Festival – which is also known as the moon that marks the beginning of the harvesting of yams (some people call it the New Yam Festival in English Language); Onwa Esa'a (the 7th moon Festival); the Onunu Festival which is a sort of carnival characterised by the going to the 'Nkwo' market Arena (where the 'Oromme' Dance, traditional wrestling, etc., was performed); The Onwa Esa'a (the 7th Moon Festival) is noted as the period for the commencement of the eating of cocoyam. Of the numerous festivals by which Nsukka was known, only the Omabe festival is still being widely celebrated in the town.
Nsukka has some of the most recognised educational institutions in south-eastern Nigeria. St. Teresa's College, Nsukka (all boys) is one of the oldest schools in Nsukka and is situated right at the heart of Nsukka township. It is run by the Catholic Church of Nsukka diocese. Queen of the Holy Rosary Secondary School is an all-girls school, also operated by the Catholic Church of Nsukka diocese. Nsukka High School is a public (government-run) school with Anglican Church heritage. Model Secondary School, Nsukka, is a day school for male and female students. Its Nigerian postal address is: P.O. Box 551, Nsukka. It has Mr. Ezeah as its current principal. St Cyprian's Special Science School Nsukka is an all-science boarding school for girls. There is also the Urban Girls Secondary School, Federal Government Girls' College Lejja Nsukka, the former Lejja Boy's School which a federal government-owned girls' school. University of Nigeria Secondary School belongs to the university and is also top notch. St Catherine Secondary School (all girls) also operated by the catholic church of nsukka diocese and is located very close to the St Teresa's Cathedral Nsukka Diocese. According to the journalist Chuks Isiwu, there is also Government Technical College, Nsukka located in Nguru, one of the four villages in Nkpunanor. Nguru is the traditional head of Nsukka town and therefore the first amongst the villages in Nsukka when it comes to selection or choosing things, including the kola nut.
The Evolution of Modern Igbo names in Nsukka
How would you feel if I tell you that Ekene was not an Nsukka name? How would you feel If I tell you that Ogochukwu, Chioma, Ifeanyi, Kosi, Obinna, Nkemdili, Nkeiru, Chinyere, Chinonso and some other names common to Nsukka people today were names that were actually unheard of and strange to the Nsukka people? When I use the word ‘Nsukka’, I mean a conglomeration of over seventy ancient Igbo states who were each sovereign with defined territories and governments before the coming of the British in the 90s of which Nsukka town was one of them. In other words, Nsukka town was one among over seventy ancient states that the outsiders commonly refer to as NSUKKA today.
Nsukka has boundary with Obukpa, Ero-Ulo, Edem-Ani, Orba, Eha-Alumona and some other towns that were once complete states with sovereign power before the coming of the British. However, the British, more or less, made Nsukka the central administrative headquarters of the unit and thenceforth referred to all the surrounding communities as NSUKKA whether they were so called before or not. It was akin to Batiatus giving one of the Roman captors the name, SPARTACUS even when his Thracian name was nothing similar; who cared? You only answered what Rome gave you. So was it with the British. If they called here Nigeria, it became Nigeria; if they called a place Maryland, it became Maryland; if they called a land Victoria Island, it becomes Victoria Island whether Victoria has ever been to the land or not. That is the story of the Nsukka Igbos although they were quite fortunate that the white man did not actually coin the word Nsukka for them; the town was already called so and the white man was benevolent enough to memorise the name and called it so. Still, they insisted we write it the way they want and someone like me is still struggling to free myself from such mental manipulation; otherwise why will I still write Nsụka as NsUKKA? What is the /u/ doing there instead of the /ụ/ that is supposed to capture the accurate pronunciation? What is the double ‘k’ letter doing there? That is just by the way.
These people I will refer to as the Nsukka Igbo or the Igbo Nsukka as the case may be were better known as and called IGBO ODO and IGBO OMABE for these are the two ancestral feast or rituals that unite them. While those Northern of the zone like Enugu-Ezike, Ekete Ekeru confederacy (Ovoko, Iheeka, Uhunowere and Ihakpu), Obukpa, Obolo, Imilike, Ichi, Unadu, Ibagwa-Eka and Ibagwa-Al’, Nsukka, Edem-Al’ Ede-Obara, Opi and other northern communities celebrated Omabe feast and are called ‘Igbo-Omabe’, the southern communities like Aku, Umuna, Ukehe, Onyoho, Ikem, Nrobu, Eha-Amuhu, Nkporogwu and other southern communities celebrated ODO festival and are therefore called ‘Igbo-Odo’. None of the over seventy communities in Igbo Nsukka that doesn’t celebrate either Odo or Omabe feasts. Lejja, the community where Professor Damian Opata came from, is the only community that celebrates both Odo and Omabe feasts and are therefore, referred to as ‘Onyishi Omabe’ (This demands further explanation). These Igbo Odo and Igbo Omabe have varying dialects but it was easy for each to understand each; when understanding became complicated, each knew how to blend to accommodate the others and therefore they have names common to them. These names constituted parts of their shared identity, similarity of dialects and shared history. All the Igbo Nsukka communities 'seemed' to be under the spiritual cum political hegemony of the Attah of Igala which made Attah to be so revered that whenever such name is attached, it signified dignity. And so we have such expressions as ‘Orukpo-Attah’ (A dignified mother), ‘Dikpa-Attah’ (A dignified man), ‘Ugwu bu Attah (Attah is dignity) and so many other nomenclatic appellations. These expressions cut across both Igbo-Odo and Igbo-Omabe. The Nsukka Igbos gave names suggestive of circumstance of birth; and the morphological components of the names were always derived from the people’s dialects which were always common. Thus, one who had been suffering from childlessness or whose children often died at birth often gave their surviving sons such names as ‘Obeta’ or ‘Obenta’ which is a short form of ‘O be te nta ne oshie’ (Even if it ends today, it is enough), ‘Onoyima’ which is a short form of ‘O noyimad’d hee m nweme nwa (So time could make me have a child?) and some other similar names. Other names were ‘Eleje’ (overlook), Odo (taken after Odo deity), Atama (chief priest of a deity), Ugwuanyi which is a short form of Ugwuanyi-Agama (Almighty God), Ugwu (named after a deity), Arua (the symbol of the progenitor of every village. The onyishi, that is, the eldest male of each village presided over the Arua and offered libation to it on behalf of the other villagers and so those whose father was once onyishi were called after Arua; some were actually named Arua, for instance, Arua Nwa Okoro of Amozara village in Obukpa; he is the grandfather of Comr Chuka and Okoro Matthew; he was the son of Okoro Nwa Ugwu Idike), Onyishi (the eldest male of a village) Eze (king), Ezugwu (named after a deity) Ajangwu (viper) and other similar names. When you speak any of these name to any bona fide Nsukka man be he from Igbo-Odo or Igbo-Omabe, he knows the meaning as they are spoken (unless those born outside here or those whose parents allowed them to be alienated from their identity through western education and indoctrination). There are other names common to the Nsukka people which actually cannot be understood in Nsukka dialects; they are foreign names imbibed through their associations with the Igala and the Idoma people in the Northern Nigeria. Firstly, because of their relationships with the neighbouring tribes of Igala and Idoma, at birth, some Nsukka parents allowed their foreign friends to name their children after them for the sake of sustained friendships; this is why we have such names as ITODO, AGBO, ONOJA, AJIBO and such other names that belong to this category. These names have meanings in either Igala or Idoma languages where they originated. There are other aristocratic titles borrowed from either Igala or the Idoma people and then incorporated in Nsukka political culture. For instance, Ozioko, Nkpozi and Asogwa are titles taken by the Idoma people. The names seem to have proper semantic explanation in the language. The Nsukka people borrowed this culture and started taking such titles as Ozioko, Nkpozi, Asogwa in their political culture. Asadu is also a title taken by Nsukka people. Asadu is a corrupt form of ‘Achadu’, a political dynasty in the Igala kingdom whose function to Attah, according to D.C. Ugwu is that of prime minister (onowu); some described the Achadu dynasty as a group of warriors. Achadu had influence over Nsukka, Obukpa and Okpuje and exercised authority over them on behalf of Attah and this is why they are later referred to as Nsukka-Asadu, Obukpa-Asadu and Okpuje-Asadu respectively. In the 19th century, Obukpa was called Obukpa-Nneumukwome just as Ovoko is called Ovoko-Akpurokwe and Ihakpu, Ihakpu-Okanobara (both Akpurokwe and Okanobara are suggestive of immortal deities); Obukpa-Asadu started late in the 20th century otherwise they were known as OBUKPA-NNEUMUKWOME by all the surrounding Igbo Nsukka after their principal goddess, Nneumukwome. From ‘Achadu’, the word was corrupted to Asadu. Asadu title was and is taken by such villages in Obukpa like Umueko, Imuhu and few others who claim affinity with the Achadu dynasty. These were how the Nsukka Igbos named their children. With the increase in the means of transportation and the introduction of Western education by the white colonialists, movement across these ancient states became simplified and the Nsukka people came face to face with other people they seemed not to have heard of or known about their existence. Each of the community of Igbo Nsukka referred to those not belonging to their community as ‘Igbo’. For instance, an Obukpa man referred to an Nsukka man as ‘Igbo’ and vice versa. The white man moved across River Niger – the river guided their movement as they sailed through its shores. This is why those close to the shores of River Niger usually got exposed to the western education earlier than others. Of the hinterlands in the East of the Niger, Onicha was closer to the shore and this account for why western education in Igbo land started from the Onitsha people and spread through Imo and Asaba. Nsukka seemed to be the last among the Igbos to feel the presence of the white man second to the inhabitants across Ebonyi River. Adada (the river that cuts across Igbo Nsukka) seemed to have felt the presence of the white man before Ebonyi (the river which the state was named after). By the time the white man reached Igbo Nsukka in the early and mid 90s, they had already groomed interpreters in such central and Southern Igbos as Onicha, Owere, Asaba etc. in other words, the Anambra, Imo, Abia and Delta people had already felt the presence of the white man and were already educated in his ways before the missionaries headed towards Igbo Nsukka. Military conquests of the colonial administrators and the evangelization of the missionaries did not happen at the same pace in Igbo Nsukka here. For instance, Obukpa was militarily conquered in 1904 but had the missionary activities and the introduction of western education in 1930. The people that served as the interpreters to the white man were mostly the people from Anambra and Imo axis especially Orlu whose dialect seems to be more prominent in what we today have as the Central Igbo. The interpreters gradually settled here and related with the natives observing the differences and similarity of cultures (although the cultures were almost the same except those socio-political ones borrowed from either Igala or Idoma). These Onicha interpreters introduced what we call today as the Central Igbo. They were well educated and had to groom the Nsukka people IN THE WAYS OF THE WHITE MAN IN TERMS OF Western education and evangelisation. The Nsukka people called them ‘Nd’ Awuraku’ or ‘The Awuraku’ people. ‘Awuraku’ is an Nsukka expression which means ‘purchaser of palm kernel. Nsukka had palm trees and had to sell the palm kernels to the Anambra, Imo and Abia people who already had direct contact to the Royal Niger Company before them; they would come to Igbo Nsukka and purchase the palm kernels at cheaper prices and sold to the Royal Niger Company at higher price. UMEANO and Sons Ltd. was one of the companies that served as the middle man between the Nsukka people and the Royal Niger Company in terms of palm trade. Other names given to them was ‘Nd-Agbelu’ ‘Nd’-Ojiazu (those that moved from behind probably because the lorry had to first move through the back before it turned and zoomed off to Anambra. The Nsukka people so much admired them and wished to be like them. To this effect, they gradually began to name their children in the manner of the Awuraku people. Such names as CHIOMA, IJEOMA, CHINYERE and co were strange to Nsukka people. For instance, ‘chi’ is a common expression to both the Awuraku people and the Nsukka people as denoting one’s personal god but ‘oma’ (good) was not heard; what one could actually find was ‘ọyị’ (good); and so, ‘ỌMA’ that commonly serves as suffix to most Igbo names that Nsukka people answer now was unknown to them before; it was rather ‘ọyị’ and none affixed ọyị to names before. ‘Chinyere can only be ‘chinyer’ (the schwa sounds actually ends most of the Nsukka words and therefore, most Nsukka words lack other vowels in between them; it is either one invent the schwa sound symbol and fix it in between such words as gәnә (what?) or he uses an apostrophe to show that some letters are omitted as g’n’?). My name in Nsukka should be ‘Ekәle’ and not Ekene and even ‘Ekәle’ was not a name among the Nsukka people before the coming of Nd’Awurakә. In Obukpa, the first person to name Her child IJEOMA was Eleje Eze Nwa Onugwu from Umuorua married to Ugwuanyi Agbowo in Umueko village. The name IJEOMA was so strange, modern and complicated to pronounce that it generated this proverb in Obukpa: ‘IJEOMA D’BE UGWUANYI AGBOWO’ (there is Ijeoma in Ugwuanyi Agbowo’s house). This proverb is used to express surprise over modernity; when a technological innovation ensues, one normally heard such proverb as IJEOMA D’ BE UGWUANYI AGBOWO. People appreciated such type of modern names and decided to name their children in the ways of ‘Nd’Awuraku, the Anambra and the Imo, just the ways the Africans admired the English names during colonization and afterwards. IJEOMA was born in the 1930s and that was when such names began to take footing in Obukpa. Eleje Eze Nwa Onugwu also named her last child IFUNANYA and she was the first to answer that name in Obukpa. Ifunanya was born after the civil war. Eleje Eze Nwa Onugwu was the daughter of Eze who was the son of Onugwu who was the son of Asogwa in Umuorua. Asogwa gave birth to Onugwu and Ugwuanyi. Doctor Edwin that owns a hospital in Ibagwa is of Onugwu family while Ibeneme Ugwuanyi was of Ugwuanyi’s family. However, Eleje was married to Ugwuanyi Agbogo in Umueko village. Another of such person that answered the name, ANENE was the last son of Eke Nwa Eze Nwa Onugwu of Umuorua. Eke Nwa Eze and Eleje Eze were of the same father and mother. Eke Nwa Eze was among the first twelve Obukpas to enroll into western education at Nneumukwome hall in Eluegu together with D.C. Ugwu, Pius Ugwuanyi and others; he dropped in 1933 when the pupils were told to sponsor themselves. Eke Nwa Eze served the Awuraku people and was a civil servant before the war; he was one of the early Obukpans to imbibe the modern ways. He invariably influenced his sister, Eleje Eze Nwa Onugwu. When Eke Nwa Eze named his last son ANENE, a man from Amozara village was highly impressed by the name and vowed to name first son after that name. God later gave him a son and he named him ANENE. That man was Donatus Ike, the father of Ike, Nestor Alvin Amuche. His first son is named ANENE. It may. This is the story of the evolution of modern Igbo names in Igbo Nsukka.
- Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette (15 May 2007). "Legal Notice on Publication of the Details of the Breakdown of the National and State Provisional Totals 2006 Census" (PDF). Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "Post Offices- with map of LGA". NIPOST. Archived from the original on 7 October 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
- Renata Adler, "Letter from Biafra", The New Yorker, 4 October 1969.